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Letter to the Editor: Carless Residents Have No Reliable Transportation Option

Open Letter to the North End Elected Officials,

I love living in Boston. I have lived in the North End since 2000. I have not owned a car since 2011. Carless residents are currently Boston’s stated goal; unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult to move around the city on foot.

Construction of buildings and sidewalks create pinch points which result in the mingling of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles which create dangerous and unsafe conditions (e.g. woman critically injured while walking on Commercial Street when struck by roofing construction materials on July 25, 2019). Bike lanes have forced pedestrians into narrower spaces and have reduced lanes for vehicle traffic.

When I need a vehicle Uber and Zipcar are my first choices. Sadly, both are being burdened with fees which reduce their desirability (e.g. Massachusetts State Police training fee). Additionally, road congestion is unchecked and in gridlock for hours each day. Small steps such as enforcing don’t-block-the-box are ignored.

Finally, the option of public transport. I use and enjoy this option; unfortunately, the MBTA has become unreliable despite continued fare increases. The current solution is to shut down the green, red and orange lines for 48-hours at a time. This volume of repairs is unprecedented and did not happen overnight. Scheduled maintenance appears to be a fanciful illusion in Boston. Shame on the city and the state for kicking-the-can down the road regarding scheduled maintenance until a crisis occurred which cannot be ignored (i.e. six derailments thus far in 2019).

I am a carless resident of Boston out of transportation options. There is nowhere left for me to turn. The RMV is grossly negligent, the MBTA is shamefully mismanaged and politicians see their traffic savior in luxury lanes and fees on ride share options such as Uber and Zipcar. Transportation in Boston needs investigation at every level because the status quo is not just a failure, but a hazard to Boston’s residents and workers. Grand, multi-year projects are no longer palatable. We need action here and now. I implore you to roll up your sleeves and start at the beginning; trains running on time, traffic rules enforced and construction projects actively managed for timely completion and minimal disruption to the flow of the city. Thank you for your time.

All the best,
Erin Miller
North End resident welcomes commentaries on community issues through our Submit a Post online form. Opinions are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of or other writers on this site. Comments or responses to this commentary can be posted below in the comment section.

8 Replies to “Letter to the Editor: Carless Residents Have No Reliable Transportation Option

  1. Let me get this right,Erin.
    You live in the North End, an area over 300 years old, so the streets and walkways were not built 10 years ago.
    You have bus stops, probably within a few blocks of your home, you have three T stops, Aquarium, State Street and Haymarket, within a 10 minute walk from where you might live, you have Commuter rail to take you anywhere in the greater Boston area you might want to go, you have a major airport 2 miles away to take you anywhere in the world, Uber and Lyft abound, car sharing is convenient, an active harbor and water transportation above average and walking is a virtue.
    The best hospitals in the world are literally in your backyard.
    The best colleges and universities, in the world, are in your city and metropolitan area
    And you want improvements, without paying a fare hike on one of the country’s least expensive mass transit option. Do you really think other cities do not have issues with their mass transit? Thing cost money, if you want improvements, pay to play is the answer.
    Welcome to reality, enjoy what you have and can have and utilize.
    Whining (a North End culture) is not the answer.
    Best of luck going forward, should you decide to relocate, recommended, your expectations might be further frighteningly diminished.
    Have you been to a city council meeting or city hall or written your local rep? I know they try, and try hard, to represent their constituents.

  2. Pay to play? We have been paying for decades and the only people I see playing work for the City, State, the RMV or the insufferable T.

  3. Welcome to the club Erin. Not only is the North End seeing these issues, but metro Boston. Yes, for many years, you here that Boston is a walkable city, it still is, if you can cross the darn street. It’s an neighborhood, like beacon hill, south End etc. the sidewalks are small, the streets were built for horse and buggy. The old simple example is that their trying to stuff ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound bag. But the city and the state are truly to blame for the growing congestion . Nothing againt bikes or bike riders , but your taking vehicle lanes and turning them into bike lanes. So two lanes become one and you just added traffic . The days of the police on traffic post are long gone, unless it’s an overtime post, they should bring back the traffic cops at the major intersections . There is less parking, and the lots and garages rake people with their fees. The MBTA ! Well, it’s an old system and it will always be a catching up game to improve the system. The RMV, lol, the RMV is the RMV. That’s another story all together . They are just simply overbuilding everywhere. Every piece of land they see, they have to build on. Look at the skyline from the North End, these ugly structures they are building and jaming them with people and again, no place for the additional vehicles and just more cars going no where. Your not going to get a response from the city or the state. This state and politicians have always been useless and corrupt. And for the city, we’ll take a look at the North End, that’s another article to be written. Traffic and parking is going to get worst not better. That have been fixing the same roads for years. They have forgotten about the people who live in the neighborhoods.

  4. You would have to get the BPD union to sign off on cops directing traffic. Good luck with that. 🙏🏻

  5. JGH: Erin’s note reflects what we all think. I detected no hint of ‘whining’ — just straight forward thoughts that speak for many, many residents.

  6. I’ve been here longer and to be honest, I don’t see much change, except transportation is more expensive. Traffic has never been good, in fact better now with the big dig gone. Summer is always worse due to maintenance projects. I have used Zip car and found that renting a car from Alamo for a day was better. Takes more planning. But it isn’t as easy as just grabbing the car in the suburbs. I have lived in urban areas most of my life and I don’t see Boston as being much different. Actually Boston is safer than some.

  7. “I am a carless resident of Boston out of transportation options.”

    I don’t understand this comment. There are plenty of options but you just don’t care to use nor like them. It sounds like city living is just too inconvenient for you. Which is fine, that’s why so many people choose to live elsewhere. No one is forcing folks to live anywhere.

    If I end up getting fed up with city traffic and how to get around, I’ll probably just move out.

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